Midfielder reportedly eyed by Benitez holds the key to keeping Newcastle in PL
COMMENT By Will Butcher
Rafa Benitez would go a long way to preventing an instant return to the Championship for Newcastle at the end of next season if he completes the signing of Swansea playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The Sun claim Benitez is ready to splash out £15million on the 27-year-old star, who is also said to be interesting West Ham, Everton and Southampton with his future unclear with the Swans.
Benitez has urged owner Mike Ashley to open his cheque book for the Iceland international, in an ambitious move that could see the Toon beat all three established Premier League sides to Sigurdsson’s signature.
The number 10 role must be the Toon’s transfer priority in the summer.
Ayoze Perez and Mohamed Diame have struggled to provide a consistent attacking threat in between the lines for Benitez this season against Championship opposition.
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With a Premier League return on the horizon, better quality and more consistency is needed to fight against relegation.
Newcastle will not enjoy as much possession of the ball next season if they do gain promotion back to the top flight, and taking their limited chances will be vital in securing safety.
The former Tottenham ace has been the Swans’ star performer in a rejuvenated side, showing that he can create something out of nothing, whether it be from set-pieces or on the counter attack.
Sigurdsson has had a hand in 20 goals for Paul Clement’s side in just 31 league and cup appearances, scoring nine goals and adding another 11 assists this season.
Sigurdsson’s trusty left foot can turn a game on its head and could single handedly keep the Toon in the top flight come May 2018.
Bringing the attacking midfielder to the north east would be a huge improvement on both Diame and Perez, who have struggled under Benitez’s vigorous rotation policy.
However, it remains to be seen if Sigurdsson would opt for a likely relegation battle next season over signing for an established Premier League club in West Ham, Everton or Southampton.
In other Newcastle transfer news, this Falkirk youngster has been identified as a bargain buy.